Food waste: bad for people, bad for the planet
We know that food brings people together – whether it’s sharing stories over a home-cooked meal with your family, or catching up with an old friend over coffee and cake, food is a big part of our lives. But the process of growing, harvesting and manufacturing food is intensive and uses a lot of resources, meaning its environmental impact can be high.
As a society, we are also facing social problems, such as unemployment, hunger, and social isolation. This makes the need for a fair and sustainable food system even more pressing, but it also provides us with a great opportunity to unite people in taking climate action in their communities. Food Works is a great example of the amazing things that can be achieved when people work together to make a difference.
Working together to divert food waste from landfill
Food Works Sheffield was established in 2015. Since then, they have expanded and now work with up to 300 volunteers across Sheffield. Working with supermarkets and other food businesses, they save 500 tonnes of food every year from landfill, making a huge difference for our planet. Their main hub is in Handsworth, where you can buy food from their Market. Handsworth is also where food is sorted for distribution to local hubs in Sharrow and Upperthorpe. They also have Partner Hubs, where healthy prepared meals can be bought for as little as £1 each.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Food Works. In March 2021, they were unexpectedly given just seven weeks’ notice to move out of their central hub in Wybourn. Thanks to an incredible community response, they found a great new warehouse in Handsworth and moved there with the help of volunteers and local businesses.
Food Works is very people-focused, believing that sustainable food should be accessible to everyone regardless of income. They want to tackle misconceptions that sustainable food has to be expensive, offering ‘pay what you can’ options for food and drinks in their hubs, with a minimum donation to cover their costs.
Food Works is always looking for volunteers to join their team, working across the city to stop food waste. They also have a paid staff team. You can keep up to date with volunteering and job opportunities by following them on social media, or checking out their website.